18 Jan 2022

Herbarium Field Trip 2022

And we are off! First research travel trip of the year and over 2,200 miles (about twice the distance from Florida to New York City) to cover within a week! Madison Bullock and Reese Price traveled to 8 different cities across the southwestern United States to collect herbarium tissue for their research projects that focused on topics such as conservation genomics and population genetics.

The first stop on the trip was to Albuquerque, NM where we sampled over 50 samples from the University of New Mexico, meeting Dr. Hannah Marx and sampling over 60 specimens. We then headed to San Juan College in Farmington, NM where a highlight was talking Dr. Arnold Clifford about his exciting research and his personal herbarium collection. Finishing the first day of the research trip, we headed to Gallup, NM where we got to see the historic El Rancho Hotel/Restaurant along Route 66, where many movie stars have stayed in the past.

The second day was just as interesting as the first and had a lot of miles ahead! Heading west towards Flagstaff, AZ; we took a short detour through the Petrified Forest, where we saw the Painted Desert, Blue Mesa trail, and the Jasper Forest. After taking the scenic route, we stopped in Flagstaff to continue collecting specimens for their research from Northern Arizona University with the help of the herbarium’s curator, Tina Ayers.

The third day was one of the busiest out of the entire trip. With three herbaria to visit in three different cities. Starting out with Arizona State University in Tempe, we sampled around 30 specimens before heading to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

We had some time tour the Garden and were impressed with the saguaro cactus - who knew they could get so tall? We were also impressed with the glass-blown artwork from Chihuly.

To wrap up the day we drove to Tuscon to sample from the University of Arizona and visited the historic downtown. Here you can see Madison sampling Philadelphus tissue that will be beneficial to her upcoming conservation genetics research.

The next day we drove back east to Las Cruces, NM to visit the New Mexico State University Herbarium. We had a good time takling about specimens and our plans for target capture sequencing with Angiosperms353 with Dr. Sara Fuentes-Soriano and Dr. Donovan Bailey. On the the last day of the trip we re-entered Texas to pick up the last of our samples from the University of Texas at El Paso with the help of Vicky Zhuang and Michael Moody. On the way home, we could not pass up the opportunity to see the White Sands National Park.

We’re so thankful to the help of all the herbaria and their staff! We will now be busy the first two months of the semester preparing nearly 800 target capture libraries for sequencing - hopefully with some intriguing results coming soon!